The dust is finally starting to settle after the move. My office has come together so well that I’m resisting the urge to feel guilty for having such a nice big space all to myself. First world problems.
My wife reminds me that for years I had no space at all or, when I did, it wasn’t much more than a corner in the basement.
She’s right, of course. She usually is. It’s one of the many reasons why I feel very lucky that she married me six years ago. We celebrated our anniversary a few weeks past, untightening our new-homeowner belts long enough to go out for some very nice sushi at a new place here in town.
It’s been a while since we’ve been out anyplace remotely fancy-like. I was surprised (yet again) at how casual some people dress in what was, near as I could tell, a fairly nice restaurant. Perhaps I’m showing my age, but flip flops, trucker hats, and wrinkled hoodies just don’t impress me much. At the very least, you should take off the hat when you’re seated at the table. Or, better yet, leave it at home altogether.
Not that I begrudge them their hipster/hobo chic. Their lack of sartorial splendor made me look all the better in my three piece suit. And I need all the help I can get.
That’s one of the secrets, I think. People talk about how relationships take a lot of work. There may be some truth to that, I suppose. But mostly, it helps to be very lucky.
We are, and we don’t take it for granted. That’s one of the other secrets.
Writing is hard work too, of course. But I’m starting to think that luck is an often overlooked component in the process.
Right now the big question for me is whether my current project has enough traction. There was some momentum there prior to the move but now it feels a bit . . . distant.
It’s an interesting story (one can only hope) in that it has some connection to other things I’ve written and draws in some very old work from my playwriting days. Most importantly, something very odd happened right at the outset of the writing that surprised me. Someone showed up that I didn’t expect and I’m still trying to come to terms with their presence in the story.
(Not trying to be cryptic. But to say more would be a bit of a spoiler. Though I’m probably a year away from anyone reading this one, I think I’ll keep the secret for a while longer. But there’s a Pinterest board out there which gives you a peek into some of the imagery and themes that are swirling around in my head right now. But it isn’t going to spoil anything, either.)
But that’s not the biggest issue right now. I trust the story and have faith that it knows what it needs to be. But it has cooled off a bit since I started and I’m feeling like I have a choice to make. I’m torn between soldiering on, restarting things again to get back into the groove, or just setting it aside and moving on to the next project in my queue.
It’s a hard choice. There are a number of new projects waiting in the wings — to say nothing of the nearly-completed ones patiently listening for their cue to go onstage — but I don’t like abandoning something I’ve started.
I’ve talked about this before but, in my experience, stories aren’t very patient. And with so many different things at so many different stages, I find myself feeling as though I’ve been leading all the girls on, as it were. Sooner or later they’re going to figure it out.
(Back in high school, I had a friend who somehow managed to have four girlfriends at the same time. Each of the girls was operating under the assumption that her relationship with him was an exclusive one, although my friend swore he had never explicitly led any of them to believe this. As you might expect, this did not end well. My friend was found out, despite the fact that none of the girls knew each other, and he ended up developing something he called the Universal Brain Theory as a result — which was my first exposure to the concept of shared consciousness . . . but that’s a topic for another time.)
Stories are patient, up to a point. I suppose I need to be a bit patient as well, give this current one the time it deserves before setting it aside. I shouldn’t take these things for granted.
National Novel Writing Month
I don’t think I’ll be pushing to finish up anything so I can participate in NaNoWriMo this time around. As much as I enjoyed the past couple of years, I feel like the breakneck pace puts too much emphasis on quantity over quality.
Which is not to say that I don’t think the movement/organization has it’s place. I know many writers for whom that externally imposed deadline each day helped them kickstart a project. Or woke up their process enough to get them back on track with a daily writing regimen.
But right now I need to let things take their own course, in their own time.
The moving finger, having writ…
Part of my NaNoWriMo reluctance this year is that this is a story that wants to be written down — not typed, not hammered out in machine gun bursts, spraying words everywhere.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done plenty of that in my day and I’m not afraid to get out the guns when it’s needed. Second drafts are especially fast and noisy for me.
But I’ve missed longhand, missed my notebooks and fountain pens. I’ve missed the gentle flow of words, watching the ink dry as I write.
It’s a slower pace, not necessarily well suited for daily quotas.
So no NaNoWriMo for me this year.